[OSList] Incorporating self-organized training/learning sessions into OST AND communicating OST to an uninitiated and distracted leadership

Tricia Chirumbole tricia at investorswithoutborders.net
Tue Jan 22 12:00:17 PST 2013

Hello all!

I am an OST newbie who is hoping to facilitate an Open Space for my main
client's annual meeting in a few weeks and I would like to get your
thoughts on incorporating hands on skill transfer into an Open Space. I did
do some book reading on OST and just attended the OST meeting in NYC this
weekend, but have never hosted an Open Space.

*Background on organization and situation:*

I do not provide facilitation for this organization. I am one of a number
of project managers who work on teams to conduct market research and
strategy consulting projects for their clients in the life sciences arena.

They have agreed to my participation in the facilitation of the meetings
and I have referenced OST, but we have not yet discussed details on meeting
design and I am pretty sure they are not familiar with OST.

This meeting will be a small group of only the US folks - 14 in total. We
will be meeting for 2.5 days. On an ongoing basis, we are all remote
workers across the US and in Europe and Japan and only see each other when
we travel to a client's location.

The general theme identified is "collaboration and learning from one
another". The stated intent, so far, was to have us all take turns teaching
something to the group where we are the "expert", then to spend time just
working in parallel and helping each other on current projects or
generating learning moments.

I am encouraging shifting the focus from trying to model collaboration and
getting all of our trainings under our belts in 2.5 days, to a focus on
developing a system for ongoing collaboration and expertise sharing, to
include discussions of where learning and teaching opportunities exist. I
think this topic would be great for an Open Space.

I was thinking we could combine opportunities for hands on learning with
discussion of an ongoing structure by having two sessions (maybe 1.5 days

My thoughts for day 1 and day 2 "prompts"

1) Sharing expertise and leveraging strengths across the organization
2) What do we need right now for high performance individually and
organizationally? Training, support, etc.
*My main question is*, in the second prompt - "what do we need right now" -
could we frame this as an opportunity for hands on learning where the
sessions were either suggested by learners who knew of something specific
that they wanted to learn, or not specific I guess, as well as by teachers,
who felt that they had areas of expertise to share?

We would all then self-organize and convene into sessions where we are not
just discussing topics/structures/etc, but we are actually engaging in
information and skill transfer.

*Question 2: *Also not sure which prompt should come first.

I don't know yet if I will get them to buy into the Open Space process or
if I do, if I can get the time for 2 prompts, BUT, I wanted to ask thoughts
of the group before crafting my next communication with them.

Thank you sooooooo much for reading through this long question and for any
insights provided!
Tricia Chirumbole
US: +1-571-232-0942
Skype: tricia.chirumbole
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